Sunday, December 4, 2011

Quantum Shock

Well THIS JUST IN - i came across this not longer than 5 minutes ago and thought i'd share it here.

It's a behind the scenes look at the upcoming movie that my WT colleague, Anselm Meyer, is both executive producer and also starring in...QUANTUM SHOCK.

in the behind the scenes clip, is both Anselm and my Si-Fu warming up with some friendly and unscripted chi-sao - nicely edited and playing to music. Great stuff! you can find the clip here.

For the Quantum Shock trailer, check out this link.

Until then

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hitting the Wall With Partner Training

How do you get the most of your partner training? Some train for fun, others train seriously, others train in preparation of realistic self-defense, others purely for the social aspect of being in a club.

With that comes with a variety of intensity from various partners - some punch hard, some punch fast, some punch really weak, some have bad form, some don't give you the right stimulus for the drill, others are too protective of their ego that training with them is practically a waste of time.

So with such a variety of personalities, how do you get the most out of each person? Because wing chun is so partnered oriented in its training, my level of intensity may not match my partners and with that comes differing level of results..some good, some not so good. Some days I feel like my partner managed to take me past my comfort level and I'm totally exhausted after. Other times, the partner doesn't seem to be challenging me at all, as I feel we're moving at a snails pace.

So what should I do? What do you do?

Until then.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Train Slow, Grasshopper...

there is a very strong lesson here expressed in my Si-Fu's latest's blog post - it really comes down the importance of training slowly. When trained in this fashion, you're programming your body to feel every twitch, every muscle fibre, every tweak in all joints, etc. involved in performing a punch, a defense, a step, and on it goes.

If you've ever trained this way, it's REALLY exhausting physically, but more so, MENTALLY. It's like it's training your entire nervous system - an area of which more typical rigorous, and "grotesque" training movements just cannot train as efficiently.

It's all about training slowly.

Most of the time, we just don't have the patience to train this way, and if we do, not train long enough to reap its rewards. I'm guilty of this too myself. But only beginning to realize the importance of training slowly.

On a side note, the boxing trainer I was working with also mentioned the same to me. Train slow and repeat often. He is all about doing one combination over and again..like 300 times per side and then moving to the next combination. Hardly anyone in the gym even attempts this. They just hit the bag as hard and as fast as they can for the round, rinse and repeat. But always, hitting the bag hard and as fast - incorrectly (what footwork? hurt the wrist again?).

No need to hit the bag hard, just take your time, get your positions right and keep at it. This is his advice. Also reflects my Si-Fu's advice - it's not about hitting with power now. If you can't do it slowly, no way you can do it at full speed.

Although, different from wing chun, the idea is the same. Train slowly, grasshopper..

Until then.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gary Lam Challenge Video - The Takeaway Lesson

Okay guys, here are my thoughts on this video. But if you have no idea what i'm talking about then, you'll want to check out my initial post on this topic.

A few things I want to say up front:

  • Yes, this isn't a real fight. I think everyone knows this, and the first one to admit that would be Sifu Gary Lam (i would expect). it is just chi-sao, but in the realms of wing chun, especially at a seminar where some guy from another school just wants to cross-hands, considering this a "challenge" match is not unreasonable.
  • Was the "challenger" disrespectful? I don't know all the details as the video gets cut, so it's hard to say what the intention or discussion was prior to the exchange. But if the "challenger" just wanted to roll and then right away goes to punch him - it could be interpreted as disrespectful, especially from a Chinese culture point of view. At the same time, Sifu Lam should've been better prepared crossing hands with some unknown person..and you just know he wants to test skills...
So my observations:

Sifu Gary Lam was too nice or at least, didn't really put on the pressure until he got hit.

But once he did, you can tell right away who had the better structure, wedging or pressure..or whatever you wanted to call it, as he could pretty much keep advancing while the challenger had to step back away many times..almost running back or hopping out of the distance, let alone clearly getting hit or could be hit many times.

Now i'm not going to really go into really technical stuff. I'm not an expert, a teacher, etc. And it's easy for anyone to criticize anything they see over video and say that his structure is bad, or they're stiff, or there's no control etc, etc.

What I would like to point out is that Sifu Gary Lam has been doing this for a long time. He's very well known and has some very notable students as well. So obviously this guy is pretty good. At least better than many of us...and by us, probably the majority of us reading this blog post right now.

Yet, he still got hit the first time. Yet, he did tense up. Yet, he was stiff. Yet, he did muscle his way in. Yet, he didn't sink..and the list goes on.

It doesn't mean he sucks or he's bad at wing chun.

To me, it just goes to show you how difficult it really is to apply wing chun in a stressed out situation. And for any of us to criticize them, is, in my opinion, kind of silly unless you yourself have been in a situation like this or worse, while using your wing chun.

It goes to show how our natural tendencies of using muscle, of getting stuff, or stressing out can really inhibit wing chun. And it goes to show how hard you really have to train and really have to make sure you train in a context that replicates this type of stressed out environment. If you don't, you're practically wasting your time.

If you're training with students who go easy on you too much or you're training with partners you know that you can easily overtake, then you're not training buddy.

What's worse are the students who pick "weak" partners because they know they can handle them.

i can't stress this enough - if Gary Lam is considered stiff, or stressed, etc then just imagine what you, myself or anyone of us would be like if we were in that situation! And the best part, it's not even a real fight scenario.

If your level of chi-sao is, let's say, an 8 out of 10, in the class room, it's probably a 5 out of 10 in a challenge situation and probably a 1 out of 10 in the street.

How do you make your chi sao an 8 out of 10 in the class room, challenge match AND in the street?

Until then.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Was Going to Write About Boxing and Wing Tsun But...

A fellow WT colleague of mine (you can find his blog here) sent me some very interesting links regarding the recent "challenge" match between the very well known Sifu Gary Lam and Simon Benozzo from "Miko Kung Fu".

There is a video of the incident here.



So what are your thoughts? My comments to follow.

Until then.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Boxing: Initial Thoughts From A Wing Tsun Perspective

Signed up with a boxing gym about 4 weeks ago as my primary means to stay in shape. Before then, I've been doing your typical workout routine - weights, resistance training, supersets, etc. My intention for joining the boxing gym is simply to change up my workout routine.

My current routine consists of going to the boxing gym 3 to 4 times per week, with one day focused on weight/resistance training. Before, my workout would be 3 to 4 times per week and consisted primarily of resistance training and cardiovascular training.

Over the weeks, I've met some great people. Majority of them are like me - just looking for a fun way to stay fit. There are a few who are looking for real boxing training and then you have some who seem to have a martial arts/kick boxing/karate/taekwondo background and then you got a few who are MMA guys. Everyone's really nice and there are no egos. We all respect each other's space and commitment to their workouts but always friendly and help each other when needed.

Now coming from a WT perspective, I have noticed some interesting things - i will probably go into detail with them in future posts, but for now, I would like to just note what I've seen:

  • As much as WT/WC /VT claims they can punch 5 punches a second (which they can), it's just not the same as a boxer who can punch 5 punches a second or even 3 punches a second. While the principles of a constant barrage of attacks are the same, throwing 4 punches in a second as a boxer is FREAKING EXHAUSTING. It's not like that with the wing chun chain punch at all.
  • Wing chun brags about how it's a direct style of fighting - shortest distance between two points is a straight line. I've said it before, and i'll say it again - who cares? If the other guys punch is faster than yours, it doesn't matter whether they attack along the centre line or not.
  • The boxer uses the body more when delivering punches. This is not normally the case with wing chun. I would say i've been blessed with my Wing Tsun Si-Fu as he's one of the few that has recognized this and encourages all his students to really use the entire body to deliver hits (once the proper foundation and principles are taught). I've seen too many experienced WC guys just chain punch with a dead stance, locked shoulders and just flicking their punches at the other guy (you can see what i mean here) - but there's no body behind the hits whatsoever..unlike here. WT structure, sticking and foot work should open the way for you so that you can throw hits safely with your entire body, with movement of the shoulders, and bending of the knees, and weight on the front leg (YEA I SAID IT) etc.
  • While in wing chun, the idea is the pummel the enemy with constant attacks (chain punches), the training (with the exception of chain punch drills) doesn't really focus on this too much. Usually it's only one response to one attack..and then chain punches follow. One response to one attack...then chain punches follow. it almost creates this mentality (and builds into your muscles) a one shot one kill approach to wing chun (for example, tan sao punch, chain punch, reset. or pak sao, punch, chain punch, reset). In boxing, there is a lot of emphasis on combination hitting, always looking to knock out that opponent.
  • Although probably not fair to say this, but do you think you can tan sao or even chain punch through this (in particular 1:26 into the clip)? Btw, do you think big muscles slow you down?
On the flip side...

  • There is very little emphasis on teaching proper body structure - it's just a matter of finding it on your own I suppose. I see a lot of people who have been to the gym for much longer with very bad body structure when they throw punches at the heavy bag..even in the air for that matter.
  • Lack of rootedness - some of the guys or girls punch too hard for their own body to keep up and they get pushed back by the impact/shock of the own punch.
  • Not used to hitting moving objects - I really enjoy the double ended speed bag. I find that majority of the guys there avoid it as it's weird. The thing hits you back and at the same time, their eyes shut when the bag comes at them. Luckily for me, the chi-sao and lat sao and whatever else we do has trained my eyes to stay relatively open and the bag is not moving as "fast" as others see it.
  • Big muscular guys with tattoos don't necessarily mean they can throw bad ass, powerful punches. i have small hands, wrists, ankles and I'm quite boney actually..but when i punch, the bag moves (yay!). When they punch, however, they move or they just don't hit that hard.
  • There's no follow through in their punch - they just hit the bag and the arm comes back. You can really tell how the punch is more focused on pulling back than hitting. When I punch, at least for WT, there's a lot of emphasis on hitting BEHIND the target and have good follow through. i noticed this transfers well over to boxing, although I've had to recalibrate and focus on pulling back to some degree for the context of boxing.
  • There are some guys, typically the larger frame guys, who sure can hit FREAKING HARD..you can really hear the impact. But it takes a lot of wind up, in a sense, and distance. Coming from a WT background, it's easier to throw the punch from where ever the hand is (this is how it's taught in boxing by the way..just not as emphasized compared to WT). I can see that it's important to really RUSH INTO THE ATTACKER to really shut him down. Any hesitation means all that power from his punch is coming your way.
  • In boxing you have the safety of gloves - big 16 oz gloves that are nicely padded to help you defend yourself and protect your hands. You don't have that in WT or self-defense scenario and it's easy to be dependent on the gloves and think you can punch just as hard without gloves....yea..and break your hand at the same time.
  • There are no variables such as dealing with kicks, take downs, elbows, grabs, knees, etc. Thai boxers keep their shoulders square and their head up high. The western boxer bobs and weaves. The thaiboxer doesn't weave or bob because they know a knee is coming their way.
  • Boxing trainers..at least the ones in this gym who are more focused on satisfying your goals, really make you feel awesome. When they work the pads or heavy bag with you, they are encouraging you and saying things like "NICE PUNCH! GOOD POWER! KEEP GOING! DOING GREAT!" Makes you feel like you're Ali himself! Big mistake. The saying goes, the heavy bag doesn't hit back... it's not unreasonable to think that people who join this gym think they can actually defend themselves... very scary.

These are just some of the observations that have come to mind in the last few weeks. I look forward to more sessions at the gym and to WT now - both provide perspective for each other. It's an interesting lens to analyze the two activities. More to come for sure.

Until then.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Wing Chun Man! Shawn Obazi

Remember this guy? He's Shawn Obazi - the wing chun man! And if you don't remember him, check out my other post here.

And guess what? He's fighting and using his wing chun..or is he?

I'm sure the comment threads are all over this - about how crappy his wing chun is or what not, but guess what? he's getting in the ring and fighting other styles - already doing more than the wing chun guys out there..

here's one of his fights:

here's a sneak peek at his wing chun skill.

You be the judge. what are your thoughts?

Until then.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Western Boxing - Add That To My Resume!

Over time my training has evolved, and the lessons and message from my Si-Fu has evolved as well. For me, it went from traditional or typical wing tsun training (eg. chain punches, weight on back leg, chi-sao, head up, etc) to a change in frame, where wing tsun is chinese boxing - it's something that is alive and heavy handed and the entire body works together...while this is differentiated from "typical wing chun" training where you see people just chain punch (ahem, rabbit punch) their way through everything. While it may be effective for some it also may not work for many - as you can see on Youtube all the chunners getting knocked out by right cross or left hooks...


Wing tsun is kung fu and kung fu is chinese boxing. The idea here is that it's boxing. Bring the boxing back into kung fu! back into Wing Tsun! This message has definitely been hammered in (at least to me) over the last few years. Once you have a functional tan sao or bong sao, etc, you throw all positions away and focus on the "boxing" aspect of the fight.

Sounds obvious as you read this, right? But you never see this anywhere. Every 'chunner" just rabbit punches their way through things as that's all they know...let alone pretty lame punches to boot. If you're going to chain punch, make sure they have boom!

Anyway, the point of all this - I've joined a wester boxing gym. The purpose of me doing this is all fitness, but hey, why not make this an opportunity to figure out how to make my wing tsun better by learning boxing. And, maybe it'll help me put the boxing back into Chinese Boxing!

No one knows I've had any martial arts experience or am studying wing tsun. I want them to treat me completely new. I'm there with an open mind and ready to absorb all they can throw at me. It's going to be quite exciting.

This isn't some cardio boxing class - this is a boxing gym. I expect blood, sweat and tears and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you!


Until then.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Legend of the Fist

Had the chance to catch Donnie Yen in the Legend of the Fist. To sum it up, I rather enjoyed it quite a bit!

This movie continues where Bruce Lee left off in the Chinese Connection (you know, the movie where he beats up an entire karate dojo). Donnie Yen plays Bruce Lee's character in the Chinese Connection, Chen Zhen, but the movie takes place 10 years after the events of the Chinese Connection.

I didn't have any expectations going in but as a fan of Bruce Lee, this movie pays homage to his fans and Bruce. There are signature Bruce Lee moves in this movie, the Kato outfit, and numerous references to the Chinese Connection movie. They've updated the dojo fight and incorporated elements of the Chinese Connection very nicely into the Legend of the Fist. Even the Bruce Lee war cry makes its way into the movie - ha! I liked it!

Now I'm by no means a kung fu movie enthusiast, but I really enjoy how other kung fu movies have really taken the story of the Chen Zhen/Chinese Connection and expanded on it.

Here's a quick run down:

  • Jet Li's Fearless: This is the story of Chen Zhen's Sifu, Huo Yuan Jia: his history, how he built the school and the famous fight that he lost against the Japanese.
  • Bruce Lee in Chinese Connection: After hearing the death of his Sifu against the Japanese, Chen Zhen takes matters into his own hands and avenges the death of his Sifu, while also paying the ultimate price.
  • Jet Li in Fist of Legend: Probably one my favorite movies, Jet Li's Fist of Legend is a retelling of the Chinese Connection. If you haven't seen it, you're missing out. Watch the subtitled version, not the dubbed version.
  • Donnie Yen in Legend of the Fist: Chen Zhen's story continues after beatuing up the Japanese and manages to avoid executionby escaping to Europe using his skills in the battle field, only to return to Shanghai after world war 1, and takes on an active role in uniting China.
Let me know what you guys think!

Until then.



Sunday, August 7, 2011

THANK YOU!

Hi all - I just wanted to say thank you to all my readers out there and to those that comment on my post! I'm not leaving or anything but just wanted to say thanks!

I always read your comments and always find them thought provoking or sometimes funny - whatever the case, it's always great to hear thoughts and ideas from you.

Best part ever - I have yet to experience a comment thread bashing as to who would win in a fight: Seagal or Van Damme...or Boztepe and Gracie ;P

And a big thanks to my Si-Fu for letting me say whatever the heck I want to say on here. I can criticize WT to my hearts content or question the effectiveness of karate any way I want. Sometimes (although rare) I may not even fully agree with what I'm saying but just want to let my mind be free and to visit the 'what if' scenarios. I can assure you the only person that drives this blog is myself. I'm not here to promote a school, a lineage, or anything like that.

I can bash all you guys equally and freely behind the security of this keyboard! haha, I kid I kid.

Anyway, always glad to here from you guys and to see the stats of visitors!

Until then.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ip Man 2 Review

I finally had the chance to catch Ip Man 2 on Netflix. As you already know, I am a fan of the first Ip Man movie. So what are my thoughts on the second one? Obviously, not as good as the first one. But why? What went wrong?

For one, i didn't really care for the story line. The first movie established Ip Man as a reputable fighter among the schools, and this sequel told that same story again but in Hong Kong. Then, almost out of nowhere, they brought in the 'westerners' as the common enemy to unite all the Chinese that have been fighting each other the entire movie..and of course, the Westerner is quite one dimensional - big, muscular, arrogant, powerful and yells a lot. What also added to the lameness of this whole thing was that the transition to the "western" enemy was quite abrupt and was just tossed into the story to give the story an ending.

On top of this - the fighting wasn't great. The wing chun wasn't as nicely demonstrated as in the first film and got really "posey" throughout - there were also really tight camera shots and wire tricks - there wasn't that gruesome wing chun that was demonstrated in the first film (think of that amazing Ip Man vs. the 10 black belts scene).

It would've been interesting if they would show more realistically (yet still flashy) how wing chun could perhaps deal with a western boxer - the cameras were too close to really get an idea, and only the end of the fight, did they show some true gems (eg. attacking the biceps, shoulders).

Fights against Sammo Hung weren't that great either.

I also noticed that the Ip Mans leg work during the fight scenes were barely involved - it was all upper body. I think it would've been cooler to show the leg work more during hands work..especially against the western boxer.

Ok that's my rant..err review. What are your thoughts?

Until then.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What's Your Threshold?

This weekend, our WT school had an outdoor class. Although various points were discussed, such as keeping the centre of gravity low, keeping elbows low, exagerating whole body movements, etc, there was one point that I felt hit home with everyone.

The idea was that our training must be at a level above and beyond what is actually needed - increasing your skill level so much, only because when you actually do need your skills, your body only will probably only use 5% of what it knows.

Under stressful conditions, much of everything you learned in class will be tossed out the window due to the adrenaline rush, the stress, the variables of a fight. It's in our nature. Why do you think effective fighters only have 1 or 2 basic moves they always count on?

With this in mind, the training must focus on increasing your threshold of skill...so that the 5% you do is more effective and can encompass more. This means making things 10X more difficult than real life, more stressful, more complicated, more difficult...as to increase your ability to capitalize on that 5% you do know even better.

Alternatively, training can also mean increasing your scope of what you can train your body deal with so that your effective 5% is, say someone else's 10% or 30%, etc.

As you can tell, in the way of king fu - it is a long road before effective fighting can really be achieved.

Until then.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Recognizing Good Wing Chun

How do you recognize good wing chun? What do you look for?

Is it the form? the positioning of the hands, elbows, feet, etc.

Is it the speed?

Is it in the complexity of the drill or moves? Or maybe the simplicity?

For me, it's something that is very difficult to describe. It's an intention to hit. An intention to knock out the other fighter - a level of full commitment in the attack, and fearlessness of getting hit himself.

It's also about being fluid and not using tension or moments of stiffness in the move. You can see these 'moments of stiffness' in many well respected teachers...which is quite disappointing.

So how do you recognize good wing tsun?

Until then.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

No Form

As much 'flack' as I give wing chun on here, there is something that I love about this style. It's not really a particular move or that it's designed for realistic fighting.

While those are all good things, that's not what I'm talking about.

What i love about wing chun is that, in it's application, there is no form to it. There is no martial arts stance or distinguishable position of the arms or legs that say "i know kung fu". Applied, wing chun is formless. It can look like chain punches if the opportunity allows it or looks like a jab if the opportunities allow it, or it looks like a sloppy elbow to the temple of the opportunty allows for it.

There is no form as to how the elbow is applied or how the punch is thrown. all that matters is that the punch got there.

How did it get there? by the great timing, structure, stance and 'wedging' that your wing chun training developed.

And it's just so deceptive too. I'm not a big guy. i don't look threatening in anyway. You see a guy like me on the street, and you don't think twice about me. You wouldn't say, 'don't mess with that guy'. While, for others, you can tell they are training something, whether that's from there tap out t-shirt, or bruised and mashed up knuckles.

I don't have to worry about 'perception' in the bar, by the bouncers, or by other 'alpha males' that puff their chest and hold their beers as they stare away. Instead, confidence and assertiveness resonates but doesn't threaten. Wing chun is very cool if you ask me ;)

Formless is perfect and that is wing chun.

Until then.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Weakness In Wing Chun Training

let's put aside all the things that people think are typically wing chun's weakness (limited weapons, 'trapping' doesn't work, close range fighting only, no ground fighting, traditional, etc).

I would say that there is a major 'weakness' in wing chun training that is overly missed. What could this be?

You're probably making the mistake as you trained last week in class.

It's your training partner.

Does your training routine account for the lack of skill of your training partner? I'm not talking about chi-sao. I'm talking about drills or exercises you work with another training partnet. You see, typically when you're training, you ask your partner to throw a right punch or a low roundhouse or a tackle, right?

But chances are pretty good that your training partner is like everyone else - learning a martial art because they have no martial art skill. So the jabs you're defending from are 'lame' and the kicks you're defending from are fake and the tackle you're neutralizing is unlike anything a real grappler would do.

So what good is your training?

Until then.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Are You Caught In The "Tap-Tap" Trap?

I studied about 4 years of Shito-ryu karate. I really loved it and it really opened my eyes to the benefit of martial arts, and more importantly, the benefits of having a good martial arts school. The class was very traditional - much of the moves were taught in Japanese, there were bowing etiquette we had to follow, etc.

The class consisted of a lot of basics training (stance, punches, blocks, kick drills, etc) and then there was kata training and then kumite (pre-arranged and freestyle).

As I progressed, my focus centred a lot on free style kumite. i just loved the rush. But right away, i noticed how limited the fighting was. Reverse punches and round house kicks were pretty much the primary weapons..some may have opted a front kick with their reverse punch, but the reverse punch was your bread and butter.

I noticed that the seasoned fighters - competitive champions - had a knack of pulling their punches or, in a sense, 'ended' the fight as soon as a clean hit was registered. Sure the punches still hurt, but there was a lot pull back and reset..and many times, even before the refs even call the hit. It was an automatic response.

Now, with wing chun. I see a lot of that type "automated pull back" with people training chi-sao. Instead of hitting, they just tap or stop the punch or just push, but not really hit..or not hit, but tap really fast. Although I understand that you cannot hit the partner during chi-sao training (otherwise they would never train with you again), the wing chun student can fall into that trap of automatically assuming that a tap EQUALS a hit.

Of course, they will realize that a tap is not a hit when they step into a free-fight situation.

Scary stuff.

Don't fall into the tap-tap trap! There are ways to train you wing chun under controlled conditions, in which the hits are 'turned up' a few notches so that you're tapping, you're not pushing, but you're actually practicing hitting. of course, there are stages to such development, but that's where your instructor should guide you.

If all you guys do is tap each other, you're wasting your time.

Until then.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Steven Seagal Knows Wing Chun?

Well..maybe he doesn't know wing chun. but check out this clip - all the way through, there are some striking similarities. in fact, just imagine it's not Steven Seagal and what would you think he'd be teaching?

Also exciting, the guy he's training is MMA fighter, Lyoto Machida.

Enjoy the clip here.

Until then.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hong Kong Airlines Flight Attendants Learn Wing Chun!

Over the last few months, there has been much attention to Hong Kong Airlines having their flight attendants learn wing chun. Here's a clip of the attendants learning the first wing chun form.

On the surface, this is great publicity for wing chun and very cool to have the attendants learn such an amazing self-defense system. It's simple, designed for close quarter combat, and was created by a woman (so we're led to believe).

But when i think about it - this is a big mistake for the attendants. At least, in my opinion, these girls and the air line is asking for trouble. Wing chun kung fu is not an easy martial art to apply. i don't care what the teachers say, it just isn't. Do you think these girls can chain punch a few assailants on the plane to knock them out? or subdue them? maybe.

But what about if they have a weapon of some sort?

Multiple attackers.

Or even if they do get away okay, they will be hurt as well.

Wing chun kuen, in addition, takes years to learn...even to be good at simply step and punch.

I think this is just publicity for the art and nothing more. these girls are going to hit the guy with an elbow, only to realize it did nothing.

And after the lawsuits and injury claims come, then does the barrage of how "wing chun sucks."

Lose lose.

Until then.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Self Defense vs. Competitive Fighting Part 2

In my last post on Self-Defense vs. Competitive Fighting, we looked at arguments as to how self-defense is very different from competitive fighting, and ultimately, competitive fighting cannot be translated to street self-defense.

Interestingly (and sadly), this was 'proven' recently when an amateur MMA was killed trying to fend off robbers.

But when you think about it, do you think your wing chun or self-defense skills would've faired better? or do you think the argument of "not doing anything because you know better" is, itself, the self-defense move?

Competitive fighting, while very different from street self-defense, still carries on many similarities and to completely ignore it, is, in my opinion, a shame.

Yes, the variables are different. Yes, there is hard cement. Yes, there are multiple attackers

BUT how do you plan on hurting your attacker so that you don't go to the ground?

With punches, kicks, elbows, knees, headbutts, etc.

These basic tools are found in competitive fighting and it's in competitive fighting that these tools are trained to oblivion, perfected, tweaked and under enormous pressure against uncooperative partners.

When they punch, they punch hard.

When they kick, they kick hard.

When they elbow, they mean it.

When they take someone down, there is purpose.

These tools are required for self-defense. So competitive fighting does have its place.

I had the chance to watch the entire (and only) season of Fight Quest recently. You can right away see the difference in how difficult it was for the hosts to fight against competitive fighters vs. the arts that claimed to be more 'self-defense' oriented. You could also see the shock in many of the 'self-defense' fighters when they were hit and hit HARD by the hosts who have MMA background - you can see it in their eyes and frustrations and then with that, them being thrown to the ground even more.

Some how, the FightQuest hosts, when natural reflexes kicked in, was able to kick harder, punch harder and with more impact than the 'self-defense' fighters.

So regardless of whether the variables are controlled or not, if you can punch hard, under stress and against an uncooperative partner, who cares?

Self-defense may be different from competitive fighting, but i think that competitive fighters can knock you out and, like it or not, that's really the end game.

Until then.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Self Defense vs. Competitive Fighting

My good WT colleague of mine brought this topic up: the difference between self-defense vs. competitive fighting.

They are no doubt very different things - but are they different enough to say that skills developed in the ring (or octagon) cannot be transferred into the street fight scenario?

Let's assume the answer is yes.

To me, the major difference between the ring and the street is that there are ABSOLUTELY NO variables controlled for. Multiple attackers, pocket knife, sucker punch, slippery ground, blearing music, flashlight in your face, friends holding you back, etc. Even when you take one guy out, anything can happen right after..or later in the evening,...or the next weekend you're out.

Here are some more differences that my colleague came up with:

COMPETITION ( ring fight)
SELF DEFENSE FIGHT

1. weight divisions
1. varying size range between fighters

2. rules
2. no rules( chaos)

3 third party help(referee and cornermen)
3.usually no help

4. one on one
4. multiple attackers(not known whom or from where?)

5. no weapons
5. weapons ( may escalate)

6. usually no serious injury
6. serious injury likely

7. preparation time
7 no preparation

8. known opponent strengths
8. opponent(s) not known

9. known opponents agenda
9. not known agenda

10. announced start time
10.unannounced start

11. round lengths
11. time unknown

12. start distance out of range
12. usually much closer physical start

13. no legal/moral consequences
13. serious consequences

14. stops when you are defenceless
14. continues past consciousness

15. agreed on fight location,footing etc
15. attacks from anywhere/behind

16. usually no physchological aftermath
16. lasting physchological problems quite possible

17. no follow ups to fight
17. possible escalation to legal/fatal problems

18. socially acceptible
18. might cost you reputation/church/job/friends

19. relatively equal size/speed strength ( matched skill set)
19 assume attacker will be bigger/stronger/faster ( unmatched skill set, attackers pick victims)

20. aeorbic conditioning important ( later rounds etc)
20. anaerobic situation usually (short and fast, 1 minute is a long street fight)

21. going to grappling on ground is a good tactic
21. could well be a very bad tactic

22. fear not major factor due to known quality
22. unknown factors make fear more of a major importance

23. safety equipment/relative skills make getting hit not so important to outcome
23. one hit to eye /throat/ groin/ knee etc can influence outcome largely,espeically with a weapon
( visualise getting light contact hits versus repeated knife slices)

24. one mistake not necessarly decisive
24. one mistake can decide whole situation

25. .equal desire to partake
25. uneqaul desire to partake

26.similar intensity( commitment level)
26. different agendas = different commitment

27. ? drug testing ( pain dullers, attitude enhancers)
27 no drug testing

can you add more?

Until then.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

WT Business Model

The Leung Ting organization boasts thousands of schools across so many countries. Because of this, it also gets a lot of flack from martial artists saying that their curriculum is drawn out, designed to suck money from the students and fatten the wallets of Leung Ting and Keith Kernspecht. While this may be true, i don't think you can be too quick to draw this conclusion.

Sure, it the world of martial arts, especially that of the Chinese martial arts, kung fu is seen as a sacred teaching of a very fine skill. Like that of a master swords maker, the art is passed on from teacher to only a few students - taking the time to mold the student into a finely skilled artist. i totally understand how this translate to wing chun or any martial art.

But when you make it a business and a successful one at that, the EWTO did everything right. A business cannot succeed if you take the above "sword master" model into a business model. in order for a business to succeed, the top guy, whether that's a master swordsmaker or a wing chun teacher cannot spend all his time teaching class, but instead must focus on the business.

That means the business must be able to run without his presence.

That means the business must be able to create predictable results on demand.

That means the business must have a specific process and/or protocols in place that systematizes and outlines how everything must be done.

Look at McDonalds - the CEO of McDonalds does not work at McDonalds, no matter how good he may be at flipping burgers or cares about the quality of a fine burger. When you walk into a McDonalds, you know exactly what you're getting no matter what McDonalds you go to. A Big Mac is a Big Mac. There are specific protocols and processes in place that determine exactly how things to be done - burger is on the grill for X # of minutes, at X degrees and must be flipped at X minutes, and must be topped with 2 pickles, 1 tsp of mustard, 1 tsp ketchup, etc.

So this is what the WT system had to do. And that's what it did. It created the student levels, broke down each grade into sections and created a grading criteria, a "how to teach" system so that it can bring in more students and create more instructors - it became its own machine - it became a real business.

There is no other way around it.

You cannot have it both ways, where the business is huge and yet the CEO-Sifu teaching the basics of the wing chun stance. He's got bigger things to tackle. That stuff his underlings/employees can handle. Do you think the CEO-Sifu can teach 300 or 3000 or 30000 students?

The model has to be able to accomodate the numbers. At the WT model did just that.

It is easy for us to judge the WT curriculum as "crap" and just a money making machine simply because it doesn't reflect our expectations of what we see in the movies (eg. Kill Bill part 2) - but really, it HAS to take this form in order for the business to grow to survive. And, also, it helps ease pressure off the CEO-Sifu too from teaching and running the business to just running the business.

Just something to think chew on.

Until then.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Houston Backyard Wing Tsun Kung Fu

I was forwarded this video a few days ago. Upon his first viewing, he noticed that the flow was good but he questioned how powerful these attacks can be delivered.

I had to watch the clip a few times to see if there is the "potential" for power or if it's simply a very well rehearsed and choreographed demonstration. For some, it might be easy to quickly judge and say, "yah that's crap" simply because it's not your typical MMA or muay thai stuff... think of typical street brawler wailing at a heavy bag..but upon closer inspection, you can see his shoulder pops back just a slight bit upon impact of his punch - goes to show the lack of power alignment.

Others may look at the flow and see how the joints (shoulders, spine, elbow, legs) are aligned with the attacks - so that even though it's "weak" on the video - it can have great potential for damaging the attacker - think as if it's Bruce Lee demonstrating some cool moves slowly and with no power. You can still see the way his body moves, that there's something rooted and potentially powerful.

So what do you see? do you see these students as "potentially powerful" or "fairly weak"?

I watched it a few times already..and my conclusion - it's weak. Although they have the potential to tweak their structure/alignment/positioning, etc and it can be greatly improved. They got the flow down - now it's adding the power.

Your thoughts?

Until then.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

What Do You Think Of THIS Guy?

Here's a link a fellow WT colleague sent me - what are you thoughts on him? he may have skill and what not..but right off the bat, doesn't he come across the type of guy that may know the technical/theory but really can't apply it?

Also, the whole white guy submerged in chinese clothing, atmosphere kind of offends me. Should it? Maybe not. But it does. To me, it's an easy way for him to gain credibility by latching on chinese culture..rather than actually showing good skill. It's as if I were to take up golfing tomorrow, and buy all the Nike golf shirts, pants, shoes and hats that Tiger Woods endoreses and buy the most expensive golf club out there - showing up on the green with my ridiculously new outfit. You know..like how high school kids dress in all new stuff on their first day of school.

Look at the Chinese wing chun teachers..majority of them teach in a t-shirt and jeans.

I understand that uniforms have a role, but it's a bit much.

And then you have his "David Carradine" tone..c'mon! He's totally playing on this white-wanna-be-chinese-wisdom guy..all to make money or something.

He's like the Temple Kung Fu of wing chun - remember Temple kung fu? what a scam.

Very annoying.

He may have skill for all I know. But then you'll see in the first video of him on the wooden dummy..and i can't say it's impressive at all. It's the equivalent of him using chopsticks for the very first time.

Your thoughts?

Until then.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Old Training Partners

Last week i had the pleasure of working with an old kung fu brother of my ("Si-Hing"). This guy started his wing chun training many years before me, completing that system and then moving over to the "WT" system under my instructor.

He has continued his learning outside of the kung fu school over the last few years and has focussed on his own training, training with other students and teaching. Last week, he came back to class and it was awesome to cross hands with him again.

He threw me into the wall, destroyed my structure, made me really work, and it was all in good atmosphere and learning. Very talented guy, and good natured, but ridiculously well rooted and has amazing basics and stance.

These are the moments that freshen things up, that push you to your boundaries and, best of all, reveals gaps in your training that i could not see for myself.

Thanks Si-Hing.

until then.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

You Can't Judge Fighting Skill on YouTube

Sorry for not posting last week! My modem died and it took a good week or so to get a new one ordered. I can't believe how dependent i've become on "the net" now - can't pay the bills, can't watch tv or stream music to my media centre..and of course, gotta rely on my old penthouse magazine for the occasional lonely night. Too much info? :)

Ok back to business..

I was forwarded this clip from a fellow WT brother (on a completely unrelated topic to this post). The two fighters are UFC elite, Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida in a training session.

Focus in on the first minute of the clip:

Now, for a second, I want you to ignore who these people are. I want you to imagine that instead of these two buff, intimidating, amazing fighters are..for a second..doing what they're doing but are:

FAT, SCRAWNY, WEARING CHINESE SILK OUTFITS, or any combination of this.

All o sudden, i can picture all the comments coming in about how these guys suck, or they don't know real martial arts, or they would be toast in MMA, etc etc.

My point here is that YouTube is by no way a proper means to judge fighting skill or ability, add to that the perception if the two fighters are not in "gladiator" shape...their skill is automatically downgraded.

it's interesting how our frame of mind shifts, just like that.

You can have to hardcore badasses with absolutely no skills, just wildly flailing at each other...and as long as they're ex-marines or whatever, and look the part, people will always be "wowed".

until then.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Is Inch Power Useful?

The concept of "inch power" in wing chun is the delivery of a strike within an inch or a few inches away of its target. Demonstrated by Bruce Lee and many other wing chun artists, the "inch punch" pretty much sums it up and always gets an "ooh" or "ahh" from the crowd.

Now, there's a difference between the delivery of inch power - for demonstration purposes, it's more of a push so that it "pushes" the opponent into the chair and gives a more dramatic effect. While, actual fighting application, the strike "hurts on the inside" and is meant to drop the opponent, rather than to push him or her away.

But, how useful is inch power anyway? In the context of the street fight, would we want to rely on inch power? Wouldn't we want to capitalize on striking with as much force as possible and with ideal distance, rather than only a few inches away?

In the face of adrenaline, drugs, etc. how effective would the inch punch really be? In the context of being on the ground? against a grappler?

Or perhaps, developing the inch punch is simply a means to make your "normal punch" even more powerful?

Until then.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Is Change OK?

This was asked in one of the forums I occasional visit. Is it okay, or "right" for martial arts to evolve?

At first glance, i think yes. It has to.

But then, I remember how in my past martial arts, so much emphasis is on passing tradition, or performing a kata as our ancestors meant it to be performed, or how Sifu's Sifu's Sifu used to do it.

There's also perception that such traditionalism is inherent in martial arts - as shaolin kung fu dates back to so and so years and it's lethal, and it's the real deal, etc etc.

As I look outside the environment of martial arts - the eco system, business, academic system, transportation - everything changes. EVERYTHING. It must. If it doesn't, it dies..or at least becomes practically useless (or useful, but to a very limited way). Things that don't change, do not thrive forever.

So it must be okay to change - to change how we apply wing chun? how we interpret wing chun? to how we teach wing chun.

Do you agree?

Until then.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What Age to Learn Wing Chun?

The other day, a lady friend asked me about kung fu schools that teach to children 4 years old and up. After consulting a few friends in the kung fu circles, they weren't able to find any that taught younger than 6.

it got me thinking - what age is appropriate to learn wing chun? I know some have kids classes - but is it motivated by money or for actual well-being of the students?

Can kids understand the concept of the centre-line, knee pressure, chi-sao, foward energy, etc?

Are their bodies capable of learning the "pigeon toe" stance? is it good for their body development?

Some schools only teach adults, while others may teach teenagers and older.

Wing Chun seems to be in its old category when it comes to teaching children - there aren't kids at the age of 6 swinging their arms and legs like that in karate or taekwondo. Perhaps the kids will be bored out of their minds just doing Siu Nim Tao? Even i've had my days....


Until then

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Double Knives

In the WT lineage (that i'm aware of), it seems that the double butterfly knives forms and applications is the cream of the crop. It is the stuff that only the masters of masters get to learn (and who can afford it). As such, not many have been taught the butterfly knife form - at least this is my understanding and part of the WT curriculum.

I've only heard rumours of what the costs would amount to learn the form itself, plus cost of the private lessons, and accounting that the teacher will only teach you in bits and pieces, plus costs of attending seminars and so on...

Very few would get to learn, but I imagine that without it, you could still get pretty good at WT/wing chun. But do you think it's still worth learning?

Do you think that if you have the right foundation from the forms, chi-sao, wooden dummy, lat-sao, etc., that your body would know what it's "looking for" when you train with the knives and that you don't really need to be taught the form itself?

If the function can be determined before the form, doesn't it mean the form isn't needed?

Until then.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ip Man: A Closer Look

NetFlix has been introduced into Canada, albeit a very weak selection of movies. Well, I had some free time one day and thought i'd give it a shot since they're offering a free month trial. One of the movies was Ip Man in HD.

The service worked great, but more importantly, it gave me an opportunity to watch this movie again and this time with closer scrutiny that the first time.

It is an awesome movie and probably the best wing chun movie I've seen (have yet to see Ip Man 2). The action and choreography is superb - and shows off the power that can be had from wing chun training.

But, unfortunately, I was sooo disappointed of the historical inaccuracies in the movie. Let's a run through a few of them now.

  • Ip Man actually fought against 32 karate guys, not 10. They toned it down as to not embarrass karate practitioners
  • In real life, Ip Man never really liked sweet potatoes.
  • The real Ip Man actually used a bong sao in the third frame of the fifth fight scene against the right punch, not a tan sao.
  • His wife was Chinese, but his mistress was a blonde.

Too many historical inaccuracies if you ask me. But I still managed to enjoy the movie.

Until then.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Grasshopper 2.0 Welcomes the New Year!

Happy new year everyone! i hope you all had a wonderful break filled with good eats, drinks and laughs :)

The past two months have been incredibly hectic as I've been busy with home renovations, latest developments at work and keeping up with the demands of the holiday season. I've neglected my wing tsun training, working out and pretty much been out of the loop!

Anyway, i'm back and I'm welcoming the new year with open arms. One of my resolutions - up my training! I already know exactly what I want to work on:

  • Punching power
  • Connecting footwork with upper body
That's it - just those two things. That's all I want.

What are your wing chun plans for 2011?

Until then.

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